The hike in charges of surface parking lots in its jurisdiction by the New Delhi Municipal council may have made green activists happy, but it has ruffled quite a few feathers in the trader community.
Environment activists said this was a step in the direction to contain the crisis vehicular traffic and lack of parking space were creating. Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science & Environment, welcomed the step but said more needed to be done.
"There should be a difference in the rates of surface parking lots and multi-level ones. We also need to increase the parking charges of multi-level ones to dissuade more people from using cars and make the switch to public modes of transportation. The pressure on land needs to be reduced," she said. Roychowdhury also said that more multi-level parking facilities are needed to combat the growing demand for parking spaces.
According to government estimates, over 75 lakh cars are running on the Capital's roads. In 2012, 1,400 new vehicles were registered every day in the Capital. "The speed of traffic on arterial roads has decreased significantly. Moreover, personal cars registered last year demanded parking space equivalent to the size of 310 football fields. In the years to come, valuable public land, which could have been used for some other more important civic amenity, will be taken up for parking," Roychowdhury said.
The activist said that Delhi was following the example set by other big cities of the world such as Shanghai and Beijing, which too are looking at ways to control use of cars.
However, there were many who did not agree with her even a bit. Apart from residents, who will feel the pinch every time they park their cars in NDMC areas, market associations are also unhappy.
"This hike is absolutely ridiculous. This will add too much pressure on people. Business will get affected as people will steer clear of NDMC's commercial areas, citing excessive parking charges," Vikas Anand of the Connaught Place Traders Association said.
Another trader at Khan Market dubbed it as a joke of sorts. "People will take the Metro and buses even if they own a car. This is not a move which will benefit the people," he said.